How do Candidates Perceive Your Company Brand? Employees Know

If prospective employees don’t relate to your brand, you might not see the recruiting results that you’re after. Marketing and sales already know how important branding is. But with recruiting not that much different from sales anymore, HR should start to come around, and soon. Current employees can help.

RELATED: What Does Your Company Stand for?

Despite supporting evidence, branding is rather slow to catch on with recruiters. That’s not so great for talent sourcing as a whole, but it can put you in a favorable position. It’s not about attracting numerous applicants, says the Corporate Leadership Council (CEB). It’s about attracting the right ones based on what’s genuine about your company. A brand is only as good as your ability to deliver, and the best gauge for that is the people who already work there.

Get to the Source: How Employees See your Brand

The best strategy won’t help if the message (and the reality) misses the mark. What is it about your company that nobody else has? Maybe you sell widgets, and so do a hundred other companies. There is something that sets you apart, and your current employees are a great place to find it.

They’re better than the branding team at getting to the heart of it because they live the real company culture every day. Survey employees to find recurring themes. Maybe your business is terrific about benefits, and maybe your employees appreciate work / life balance opportunities.

Once you’re finished, you’ll know your strengths and have a more accurate idea about the authentic company culture. If they’re not what you’d expected, then you’ll know where to focus efforts on the inside to make your vision real. A brand is only a logo and a catchphrase if the realities of working there don’t align.

View Current Employees as Brand Ambassadors

Employees aren’t just the litmus test for company culture. They’re also your brand ambassadors. John H. Fleming and Dan Witters for Gallup explain that they play an important role in the new sales and marketing world of recruiting.

Employees equal word of mouth about your company brand, which can turn into leads for you. They can also support your efforts by “delivering on your brand promise” to the public through the course of daily work, whatever that promise happens to be.

But brand alignment isn’t something that gets nailed down with onboarding and a little training. Employees work in that environment, but according to Gallup, only about 41 percent of people surveyed agreed with the statement, “I know what my company stands for and what makes out brand(s) different from our competitors.” Finding out what employees really think can show you whether your brand message fits the company culture. It can also help them become better brand ambassadors for your company.

Put Your Ambassadors to Work

You’ve got to “find your forte,’ says Recruiter. Once you do, you can build out with that message from your ambassadors.

You probably have a few creative people who can write blog posts and engage through social media. Instagram is great because it gives candidates a quick snapshot of what working for your company is really like. Any creative person in the company is a perfect asset, so the wider you cast your net to get employees involved, the better.

Recruiter says, “self-promotional blog posts [written] by the HR team aren’t going to cut it.” When a prospective employee reads a post written by a person who doesn’t work in management or HR, that’s when they’ll pay attention. Everything else can read like a carefully crafted advertisement, which might not feel genuine.

How do candidates perceive your company brand? You might never get the whole truth from someone who is only looking. The best source is the pool of talent who already works for your company. They’ve been in a candidate’s shoes, they work within the company culture, and they have an engaging voice.

It doesn’t matter what your brand message happens to be. If the experience of working for your company doesn’t align with it, your message won’t resonate with job candidates. Start on the inside and evaluate what you have. Once company culture matches your message, you can put your ambassadors to work and get a level of candidate engagement that isn’t possible with just your HR team.

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